Determined Diligence

Welcome to this week's a 2 z: Take 2
and the letter D.

I survived last week. Barely. It was a humdinger of a week, and not in a good way. But hey, it's over and we're moving on. Things are looking up. Way up. =) And I'm Determined to look UP.

February starts...tomorrow. Are you ready for it? I just might use Determination and Diligence as my words for February.

This week I'm determined to finish editing my current manuscript and get it to my wonderful agent, Linda Glaz. In February I'll be diligently knocking out weekly amounts of words so I can arrive at my desired destination.

If you're joining us for the a2z: Take 2 meme by posting on your blog this week about the letter D, be sure to add your name and the link to that particular post in the linky gadget here.

Take Flight: Only You

It's time 
for another
Are you ready?

This week it's relatively easy--compared to some things I have up my sleeves, and it's one all of us can do, even if we choose not to post on it. ;-)

I saw this on Facebook this weekend and it was like being clobbered with a 2x4.

So, this week's Take Flight Challenge is to zero in on ONE area where you are stopping yourself and clobber it back.

Then, let's meet back here next Monday, 'fess up and tell how we tackled that dirty dog and how it went. Let's cheer each other on!

I know what I'll be working on and I'll let you know how it goes on Monday.

Now, don't be thinking all the Take Flight Challenges will be this easy or this vague. I'm just softening you up for a biggie that's in the pipeline. ;-)

See you next Monday with the linkie for this Take Flight Challenge...

Desert or Promised Land?

Resolutions and goals. Words that make me cringe because I fail so often. For many years I thought that by simply not making any goals I'd be safe from falling short and failure, but I was wrong. I've found that I wander aimlessly without goals.

Recently I finished reading through the Pentateuch and I was reminded that I'm not the only one that tends to wander. Israel spent 40 years wandering in the desert and there's a very good reason for why they did. Fear. I have a lot in common with the Israelites.

Israel was ready to enter the Promised Land. Moses said to them,
“See, the Lord your God has placed the land before you; go up, take possession, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has spoken to you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 1:21 NAS
Wow! What a place to be in! A place many of us have been in. A place where we know what path God wants us to follow.

But Israel wanted more information. (Boy, does that sound familiar!) They asked to send spies into the land and God consented. So Moses sent 12 spies into Canaan and when they returned, they reported to the people not only about how good the land was, but also how big and formidable the people were. Israel took their eyes off how awesome their God was (is!) and all He had done for them and focused on how big the people, their obstacles, were. Big mistake.

Canaan was their Promised Land. Their destination. Their goal. When they focused on how impossible it appeared it was for them to reach their Promised Land, they chickened out. Something I'm well acquainted with.

Numbers 14:22-23 and 35 tells us what God thought of their response “Surely all the men who have seen My glory and My signs which I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, yet have put Me to the test these ten times and have not listened to My voice, shall by no means see the land which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who spurned Me see it...In this wilderness they shall be destroyed, and there they will die.”

I don't know about you, but I don't want to die in the desert.

As we slide toward the end of January, let's remember all that God has done for us, focus on Him, and press on. Let's go in and conquer the land and the goals God has placed before us this year!

God's promise to Israel all those years ago is still good today, for us.

“Do not be shocked, nor fear them. The Lord your God who goes before you will Himself fight on your behalf, just as He did for all the way which you have walked until you came to this place.” Deuteronomy 1:29-30 NAS

So tell me, are you heading for the Promised Land or still wandering in the desert?


Welcome to this week's a 2 z: Take 2
and the letter C.

Okay, it's Confession time:
Due some Carelessness on my part, I've let a few things slide here and I'm now running like Crazy to do. See, the accountability I've set up here helps me tremendously, but unfortunately, I don't have similar accountability in home and family things and there are several chores I've crashed and burned on. Sooooo, now I'm playing catch up. And it's not fun. Maybe this time I'll learn my lesson.

But you guys can still have fun without me. =)

If I can get my act together here, I'll be back on Thursday with another Take Flight Challenge. IF...

So tell me, what are some things you put off doing?

If you're joining us for the a2z: Take 2 meme by posting on your blog this week about the letter C, be sure to add your name and the link to that particular post in the linky gadget here.

White Knuckled Praying

Snow and ice are not on my list of favorite things in life. In fact, they're on the other list—yanno, the list of things I'd rather skip for the rest of my life. Since my family is rather fond of eating, I had to brave the roads to get some groceries. Living out in the middle on nowhere means that we're on our own getting to a main road, which may, or may not, be cleared. I was fortunate. The road was partly cleared. Unfortunately, the part that was cleared was the other lane. I was on packed snow and ice, which meant I went slowly and did a lot of white-knuckled praying.

Sin is a lot like snow and ice. It may look pretty and even dazzle your eyes when the sun hits it, but it obscures the road and makes for dangerous travel.

Road crews, bless them, often work through a storm so they can keep the roads clear and safe. How many times I have failed to have the road crew of my life working steadily, and how often has ick (sin!) built up as a result? Far too too many times! You would think that after as much time as I've spent in white-knuckled prayer while navigating through the muck that I would learn.

Without having the wheels of my life on God's solid surface, I'm liable to slide and go off the road. So what am I to do? I need to pull out the shovel and get to work.

Wash your heart from evil, O Jerusalem,
that you may be saved.
How long will your wicked thoughts
lodge within you?
~Jeremiah 4:14

I need to spread the salt of God's Word and allow it to melt through the snow and ice, the sin in my life, so I can clear it off and get rid of it. Only by removing it will I get down to the solid traction of a life built on the Rock, on Christ.

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of the soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. ~Hebrews4:12 (NAS)

As God's Word works in my life, I need to be diligent about removing the sin that the Spirit loosens. If I don't remove it, it acts like slush does on a road. It grabs my tires and pushes me every which way, including off the road.

I acknowledged my sin to You,
and my iniquity I did not hide;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord;”
and You forgave the guilt of my sin.
~Psalm 32:5

The best part is that God says that He's removed my sin—as far as the East is from the West. (Psalm 103:12) But He doesn't just remove my sin.
I will cleanse them from all their iniquity by which they have sinned against Me, and I will pardon all their iniquities by which they have sinned against Me and by which they have transgressed against Me. ~Jeremiah 33:8

So if you, like me, find yourself doing some white-knuckled praying from slipping and sliding due to unconfessed sin, you might want to take a moment to stop and spend some time clearing the road so your tires run on the Rock-hard, full of traction, path of God. Don't forget to liberally sprinkle the salt of God's Word and let it do its work in your life.

Leadership in Small Groups

Okay, I have to admit, this post started as a rant awhile ago but I decided this frustration was an opportunity to think about leadership and what makes a good leader of a small group. I'm part of several small groups and I lead a small group or two, so this is something I'm very interested in and pay attention to.

What makes a good leader--specifically of small groups?
  • A listener. Being tuned in to your group's ideas is smart. Often a synergy will form--maybe not with the group as a whole if it's larger, but often with a core group of people, where their ideas feed each other's and the compilation is better than just one person's ideas. There needs to be a leader who will listen to the ideas, suggestions, and preferences, put them together, boil them down and say "Okay, this is what we're going to do.".
  • Accepting the buck. A leader, even of a small group must be able to say, "This is where the buck stops."
  • A decision maker. If no decision is made, the group stalls out. If there are five variations of the decision, the group and its efforts are splintered.
  • A clear leader or nucleus lead team. Otherwise there's confusion and distrust. If the nucleus lead team isn't 100% on the same page, friction and division will develop almost immediately. There is much to be said for united fronts.

These things seem to be necessary even in small groups where things are run, for the most part, democratically. Often the person the group members look to is the founder, the person whose idea it was to start the group. When they don't step to the plate the group often stalls, stagnates, or splinters. It's not pretty to see happen and isn't fun to be a part of.

So tell me, what are some other things you've noticed a leader of small groups needs to do?

B is for Book Love

Welcome to this week's a2z: Take 2 and
the letter B.

What can I say, B is Books and here are some GREAT Books we've been reading recently here at my house...

Cooking the Books

by Bonnie Calhoun

After her mother dies from a heart attack, Sloane Templeton goes from Cyber Crimes Unit to bookstore owner before she can blink. She also "inherits" a half-batty store manager; a strange bunch of little old people from the neighborhood who meet at the store once a week, but never read books, called the Granny Oakleys Book Club; and Aunt Verline, who fancies herself an Iron Chef when in reality you need a cast iron stomach to partake of her culinary disasters. And with a group like this you should never ask, “What else can go wrong?”

A lot! Sloane begins to receive cyber threats. While Sloane uses her computer forensic skills to uncover the source of the threats, it is discovered someone is out to kill her. Can her life get more crazy?

Patty says: I totally loved Cooking the Books. Bonnie's sense of humor cracks me up and I could not keep from laughing. I planned to read a little every day so I didn't fall behind with everything else in life, but that idea didn't last long before I settled in for duration. So glad I did. I needed the laughs and Cooking the Books was a recipe for fun. Don't miss this one!!


Where Wildflowers Bloom

Book 1 in the new Sisters at Heart series by Ann Shorey

How far will she go to follow her dreams?

The War Between the States stole a father and brother from Faith Lindberg--as well as Royal Baxter, the man she wanted to marry. With only her grandfather left, she dreams of leaving Noble Springs, Missouri, and traveling west to Oregon to start a new life, away from the memories that haunt her. But first she must convince her grandfather to sell the family's mercantile and leave a town their family has called home for generations.

When Royal Baxter suddenly returns, Faith allows herself to hope that she and Royal will finally wed. But does he truly love her? Or will another man claim her heart?

Esther says: I really like Where the Wildflowers Bloom!! Curt and Faith drew me in from the start and made me wish I could be there and meet them.


When the Smoke Clears

by Lynette Eason

As a member of the North Cascades Smokejumpers, Alexia Allen always takes care of the equipment that keeps her safe. So when she nearly dies in a fire due to equipment failure, she knows something is up. Ordered to take time off while the investigation continues, Alexia makes a last-minute decision to recuperate at her mother's home and attend her high school reunion. Yet trouble seems to be following her, and within hours of arriving home she's involved with murder, arson--and a handsome detective. But the conflicts ahead are nothing compared to the ghosts of her past. As she strives to remember and forgive her family history, she must also decide if the secret she's been guarding for the last ten years must finally come to light.

Chock-full of the suspense and romantic tension readers have come to expect from Lynette Eason, When the Smoke Clears is the explosive first book in the Deadly Reunions series.

Abby says: When The Smoke Clears is definitely a book that keeps you on your toes! I've been reading as fast as I could to find out what happens next.


And, next on my list to read...
The Next Target

by Nikki Arana
Would You Share Your Faith If It Would Cost You Your Life?

It only took one bullet. Austia's friend and student fell dead. And with a glimpse of a newspaper headline, the young and recently widowed Austia knows more about what happened than the police. From that fatal night, Austia's secret outreach to the U.S. Muslim community-in the guise of English language classes-becomes a target. Local Muslim extremists set their sights on ending her ministry and even her life. And the women she ministers to will be next.

A thick web of deceit closes in around Austia, and her circle of friends becomes smaller by the day, even as she finally opens herself to the idea of falling in love again. But who can she trust? Facing a spiritual battle that proves more treacherous than it at first seemed, Austia's convictions are tested to their limits and her heart becomes primed for breaking. She must ask herself: how much she will risk to stay true to her herself, her faith, and to the lives of the women she serves?

Patty says: I've not read The Next Target yet, but I've been anxious to read it since Niki told me about it many months ago, when she was working on it. Can't wait to jump into in, even though it's not my usual reading fare. The girls and I might wrestle over who gets to read this one first!


So tell me, read any good books lately?

If you're joining us for the a2z: Take 2 meme by posting on your blog this week about the letter B, be sure to add your name and the link to that particular post in the linky gadget here.

Along the Way

Welcome to a Take Flight idea challenge! This week's idea jump starter was to Stop, Look, and Listen.
Stop and take a picture (or 10) of something interesting or curious and blog about it.
We take several back roads on our way to church and there's a few interesting places, and one I've wanted to stop at. So, I went to "the cat house" and took some pictures...

Oops. Okay, so that picture is at the four way just before the Cat House, but still a shot I've wanted to take for years. LoL An empty barn or garage. The house is long gone.

Here's across the road from the Cat House...

A home with an old attached garage with the pick up still there. The door is ajar and it'd be so cool to tiptoe through the house. But I won't. Not only is it not our land but it's posted, No Trespassing. Bummer. I'll just have to use my imagination. hehe.

But this car is what I *really* set out to get a picture of. It just makes me smile.

Can you imagine the stories this car can tell? I want to know why it was parked at the edge of the yard and left. And when. And what was its last trip? So many stories, just sitting there...

In case you're wondering why I call it the Cat House--it's where all stray cats are welcome. This only shows three cats, but we suspect two dozen are in residence. The home owner is no longer there, but people faithfully come and feed the cats and make sure there's a cat house or two somewhere close by. There used to be a pair of peacocks, but I've not seen them for a couple years. They were gorgeous, but always startled me with their screech when I drove past.  They would perch on the peak of the small barn between the house and the car. Now it's just the cats and the car. This little place, off the beaten path, is a reminder to me that God takes care of His creatures, just like it says in Matthew 6:26... Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you lnot worth much more than they?

God takes care of all these cats, even after the home owner is no longer in residence. He will take care of His children!!

So tell me about a curious or interesting place near you...

If you're joining us for this episode of Take Flight, link up with us!!

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Heart Highways

In 2009 God blessed me with a dog I never thought I'd have and I named her Gracie because she's a tangible reminder of God's grace in my life. In the many months I've had her, she's provided comfort and reassurance of God's constant love, presence and purpose in my life and she's taught me many things. Like most dogs, Gracie is a creature of habit. Although not all of her habits are good, one of them is stellar. She watches over us and protects us with her big bark. Her consistency in this became crystal clear early one morning. There, across the road, was a path Gracie had worn through the snow with her constant trotting back and forth. That got me thinking about a verse I had read just moments before...

How blessed is the man whose strength is in You,
in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
~Psalm 84:5

All of us have paths in our heart. Some of those paths might lead to a friend's house and sympathetic ear, or a family member that has always been a source of strength and comfort to us. Other paths might not end in such nice places. They might lead you straight to worry or depression or fear. The path you want to make into a highway is the path you take to the throne of God.

The inhabitants of one will go to another, saying, “Let us go at once to entreat the favor of the Lord, and to seek the Lord of hosts; I will also go.” ~Zechariah 8:21

Sometimes the landscape of my heart looks like my yard does after the kids have been outside to play in the snow. Tracks everywhere. There's no way I could follow their path after they've been outside playing for a few hours. That's not how I want my heart to be. That's not how I want my life to be either. I want those around me to be able to easily follow my path to a favorite place—the throne room of God.

That makes me wonder, have we traveled the path to God often enough to etch a path? On days when the going is rough and it's dark or foggy all around us, having a well beaten path to follow to God's throne room is a great help, especially when we're so exhausted it's hard to place one foot in front of the other. In fact, when we're that tired, a highway is what we really want. Smooth going and easy to follow.

Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord and to the house of the God of Jacob, that He may teach us about His ways and that we may walk in His paths. ~Micah 4:2

Let's wear wide, smooth paths to God's presence by traveling there many times a day. We want our paths to be as easy to follow as Gracie's path through snow was.

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Psalm 122:1

If we want highways in our hearts then we need to consistently walk the same path. An occasional trip may leave enough footprints to see and follow but it will not wear a path.

Gracie's highway went to the far edge of the orchard, one of her favorite places to hang out, and it was a perfect example of how I want my heart to look.

I want a clearly defined path straight to the throne room of God. Don't you?

So tell me, how's your path looking? I'm gonna go work on mine... 

My 12

Here's my list of things I'd like to do in 2012.  Not necessary, but some for fun, some for research for a historical project (which I consider very FUN!), some to learn and grow, and some just because...

  1. I already posted my list of 9 writing craft books to read in '12. I want to add 3 books to that list and read 12 writing craft books in '12.
  2. Do 12 short vlogs. *gulp*
  3. Go out once a month (brrrrr) and snap pictures--not just 12 outings in March through October like I usually do. Why? To slow down and look for the beauty all around me on a regular basis, even if it's freezing out there.
  4. Go somewhere scenic here in Southern Illinois that I've not been to before--there's so much here that I've never seen in the 20 years I've lived here.
  5. Talk to 12 people about the history of this part of Southern Illinois--my older friends, museum personnel... 
  6. Visit the local museum.
  7. Visit the coal mining museum in town.
  8. Visit the miners memorial in town.
  9. Hunt down the old mine portals and take pictures. (Do you see the trend here? LoL)
  10. Stop at the WF Lake and simply be still.
  11. Go to R Lake and follow some of the paths.
  12. Walk through the woods this spring.
I was asked why I'm doing this--well, it does seem kind of strange to me too, especially since I didn't set goals for 2012. LoL. But here's why I'm doing 12 in '12...
To get me out of my box. Some of these will get me out of my comfort zone and all of these will help keep me from stagnating. *shrug* And I love a challenge. ;-)

Some of those things listed are big--12 parts to them--some are small. None are necessary in the over-all picture of life, but things I'd love to do.

So tell me, what are some things you'd like to do this year? Just for the fun of it?

Are you posting a 12 in '12 list? Link up and we can encourage each other on and meet back here the 12th of each month for a progress report.

I'll see you on February 12th with pictures, reports, whatever. I'm excited about this and have slowly begun working on my list. Like, I went out earlier this week and took pictures of January! Woot! And I've been reading my January writing craft book. Woot! =)

See you next month!

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We're At it Again

Welcome to our first week of a2z: Take 2!

The letter A!

I'm so happy we're doing this meme again because I had a blast last time around. For those of you joining us, you can find more info here. We're thrilled to have you with us! The more the merrier! =)

So, I figure I need to start off this time through the Alphabet right. Right? That means it's confession time. LoL.

I am {mildly} Absent minded.

If you hear something that sounds like hyenas laughing, don't worry. It's just my friends laughing at the understatement. When my head is wrapped in an idea, I'm very absent minded and miss much of life around me. But I don't mind them laughing. See, they know me well enough to know that if I'm immersed in brainstorming, I probably need to be reminded about a few things and they're kind enough to remind me. That's what I call good friends!

Last week was an absent minded week as ideas flew fast and furious for not only 12 in '12 (want to join in some more fun? We're posting this month's 12 in '12 on Thursday! hehe) but also by Take Flight. It was a whirlwind, red letter week in the idea department. It was a fantastic week! =)

Aside from being absent minded, I'm diving into the book of Acts with our ladies Bible Study on Tuesday nights. It's my favorite night of the week because these ladies are awesome. They've pushed me to learn and grow and they PRAY. Love those girls! =)

So tell me, what's new in your lives? I've missed you guys!

If you're joining us for the a2z: Take 2 meme by posting on your blog this week about the letter A, be sure to add your name and the link to that particular post in the linky gadget here.

Stop, Look and Listen

Now, for the first Take Flight challenge, or second if you vlogged...

Stop and take a picture (or 10) of something interesting or curious and blog about it.
  • Something interesting you pass on a regular basis.
  • Something you've always wanted to stop and look at but never take the time to.
  • Something that makes you smile.
  • Anything that catches your attention.
All too often we're in a hurry getting from point A to point B and we don't slow down and savor what is around us.  I know it's winter out there, but bundle up and be brave. (And if it's warm where you are, bottle some warmth and send it to those up North. *wink)

This week, find something to savor, snap some pictures of it and tell us about it. 
  • Why did it capture your attention? 
  • Do you see it all the time? 
  • Why does it make you smile?
  • What did you do to get the picture?
  • Or let the picture talk for itself.
Let's meet back here next Monday, January 16th, and link up.

Remember, you can post ANYtime, even a long time from now, I'll just post the linky and my post on the 16th.

Take Flight

My sister and favorite photographer, Cheryl, told one of her friends that I "help bloggers blog" and it stopped me in my tracks. She summed me up in three words. Helping bloggers blog really is something I LOVE doing. So when that idea collided with Michael Hyatt's post on strengths, the dots were connected and the ideas flew.

Naturally, I consulted with the other half of my brain, Joanne, and I even gave the Jewels of Encouragement group a heads up to be on the watch for another one of my wacky ideas, so they're braced for something along the lines of the vlogs we did last week (which was termed wacky by a few *wink*). And they're right. Take Flight is along those lines...

Take Flight is simply officializing something I've been doing for months now... posting the wild, wacky, hare-brained ideas and challenges I have for blog posts and inviting others to join me. We all know what it's like to be at a loss for what to blog about--hopefully this will help jump start a few posts.

The purpose of Take Flight...
  • jump start blog posts
  • provide connection
  • introduce people to others
  • stretch beyond our comfort zones sometimes so we don't stagnate in the comfy little boxes we've created for ourselves
  • try new things (it's only by trying them that you can see if you like them)

Here's the details:
  • Take Flight will be a semi-regular feature here--semi-regular because I will simply post the ideas as they come, most likely on Mondays. Why? Because I'm too free-spirited to add one more scheduled blog post day to my calendar. I've learned I need wiggle room in my routine or I feel locked in a straight jacket and that eventually drives me to my cave. 
  • A week later I'll put up my personal post of the challenge/post jump starter and put up the linky. I won't ask you to do it unless I'm willing to do it myself.
    Fine print: If something arises and prevents me from doing the post, I will simply post my apology and the linky tool for others to link up. Life happens to all of us sometimes.
  • Anyone is welcome to post and link up. Don't blog (yet)? Now's a great time to start! Or, post on your Facebook wall, grab the direct link to that particular post and post it here. Or even just use the comment section to participate!
  • You are welcome to post anytime and link with us--even if it's long after the post has gone up.
  • Everyone is invited to participate at any time. It's never too late!
  • Pick and choose the ideas you want to use. This is to serve you, not you serve it!
  • Feel free to ROFL at me, throw rotten tomatoes (cyber ones, please! LoL), remind me I'm crazy, whatever. ;-)
For the fun of it, you can earn your wings. *eye roll* --kind of like a certificate of achievement or scout badge or ...whatever you want to call it.
  • For every four ideas/challenges you post, I'll send you a badge for your blog and if you don't want to use them, that's fine!!
  • Vlog participants already have one post! Woot! (Didn't vlog? You still can! *grin*)
  • a2z: Take 2 does not count as posts for the award badges, but of course you're welcome to grab one of those buttons and add to your badge collection! *wink*

Here are the first three badges, in case you're curious...

Feel free to grab the button for Take Flight and join us occasionally...or all the we take flight.

Button code for the square 125px image:
Take Flight. Patty Wysong Helping bloggers blog.

Button code for the 325px wide image:
Take Flight. Patty Wysong Helping bloggers blog.

Tweet with us! Use the hashtag #TakeFlt  (yes, I'm on Twitter and I may even tweet. LoL)

Take Flight will be easily accessible on my blog through the tabs and sidebar. Invite a friend along.

Tomorrow the first post idea/challenge will go up.
Hope to see you then!

Click here to see all the Take Flight ideas.  You can also find them in the sidebar and in the tab on Series and Topics above. ;-)

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Who Ya Gonna Call?

“Why didn't you call me? I would've helped.” It's something I've said many times to my kids, especially the teens. But instead of calling me, they muddle through the problem, often making a bigger mess. I've done the very same thing, many more times than my kids have. (Hey, I'm lots older than are.) It's safe to say, this is nothing new. In fact, Ahaz, king of Judah, the southern tribes of Israel, did this too. (2 Kings 16)

Ahaz's enemies were crouching and crowding his borders. Things were not looking good at all when the prophet Isaiah met Ahaz with a personal message from God. God assured him the threats would not come to pass and told him to ask for a sign for assurance. Here's what Ahaz had to say, “I will not ask, nor will I test the Lord!” (Isaiah 7:1-12)


The Lord God was ready to fight for His people, again, 
but Ahaz said No thank you!

Instead, he turned around and asked his enemy for help. He closed and raided the Temple and sent some of the Temple treasures to the king of Assyria (who had defeated Judah) and asked him to fight those enemies who were threatening Ahaz. The king of Assyria was happy to comply. He took the gift, fought those enemies, then turned around and made things even worse for Judah by inserting his vile god in their midst. (2 Chron 28:16-22) It was due to idolatry that Israel and Judah both were taken into captivity.

Yanno, we have similar situations as Ahaz.
  • We have God's promised presence and help. The Lord is the one who goes with you; He will be with youl He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. Deut. 31:8 NAS
  • We have the same choice—turn to God and ask for His help, or turn elsewhere. We even have the choice to turn to the enemy.
  • We have the same consequences for not turning to God. Captivity in enemy territory.

The Lord is with you when you are with Him. And if you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.
~2 Chron 15:2

So tell me, who ya gonna call?

12 in '12 Invitation

Okay, so Sunday night, sitting in church before the service began, I had an idea pop into my head...

12 in '12

That was it. The whole idea. And I've been puzzling over it since then.
12 whats in '12?!

So I did some digging...

In the Bible, some numbers have special significance and 12 is one of those numbers. Just think about all the 12s we see...
  • The 12 tribes of Israel.
  • 12 Minor Prophets in the Old Testament.
  • 12 Apostles.
  • Look at all the 12s in the book of Revelation. (One site said it's in there 22 times of the 187 times it the Bible.)
  • The first recorded words of Jesus were when He was 12 years old, in the Temple.
  • Genesis 12, the 12th chapter of the Bible, is where God calls Abram out of where he was and told him to go to a place God would tell him. God called a people out to be a nation ruled by God and be a testimony to the world of the One True God. Abram was to walk by faith (and so are we).
There's no doubt about it, the number 12 is one of those special numbers and since this is 2012, I thought it'd be cool to do 12 things in 2012. That got me thinking, which can be a scary proposition.

A brainstorming session with Joanne turned into a full blown brain blizzard that sent me to clean the kitchen so I could dig through all the ideas. Really. It's a good thing I did too because it helped me weed out the ideas that I loved but knew I couldn't possibly do.

So here's the deal, in 2012 I want to push myself to do 12 things that I wouldn't ordinarily do. I don't have my list completed yet, but will be working on it and will post it next Thursday. Here's what I have so far...
  1. I already posted my list of 9 writing craft books to read in '12. I want to add 3 books to that list and read 12 writing craft books in '12.
  2. Do 12 short vlogs. *gulp*
  3. Go out once a month (brrrrr) and snap pictures--not just 12 outings in March through October like I usually do. Why? To slow down and look for the beauty all around me on a regular basis, even if it's freezing out there.
  4. Go somewhere scenic here in Southern Illinois that I've not been to before--there's so much here that I've never seen in the 20 years I've lived here.

Now, you guys know me (probably all too well!) and you know that misery loves company so I'm inviting you along. *grin* I'm also hoping this will keep me accountable.

Won't you join me doing 12 in '12?
Put together your own list, post it on your blog, your Facebook page, where ever, and start working on your 12 things. Each month we'll meet back here on the 12th (of course!) and report on how we're doing on our list of 12. I'll also post a linky tool so you can post and link up and we can encourage each other that way.

Our first post and link up will be Thursday, January 12th. Put your lists together and meet me back here on the 12th! 12 things you want to do in '12. Big things, little things, simple things, FUN things!

In case you want a button for this...

12 in 12. Patty Wysong

Here's the button code:

Hope to see you on the 12th with your list of 12 things to do in '12.

Focus: God's Faithfulness

This last week I realized one of the things that was really dragging me down: my focus. In one of the 1000+ comments on Seekerville's New Year's Eve party Tina Radcliffe said,

Tucked in the back of my bible is a saying from at least 15 years ago...

"The devil will have you look at how FAR you have to go-BUT INSTEAD, LOOK AT EVERY STEP YOU'VE TAKEN ALONG THE WAY"

It's important that once a year at least we stop and appreciate the journey.

That combined with things my sister Cheryl has been talking about at Sea Level 320 about storytelling and focus. She said

What I chose to focus upon is critical to what I'm trying to accomplish and convey.

I realized in all my thinking and analyzing last month I hadn't stopped and really focused on all that I did--all that God did in me. Missing that one key ingredient totally skewed how I felt, responded and thought about the upcoming year.

It's time for me to go back and see all that God did in me last year. It's time to celebrate those things. It's time to remember all God has done for me and remember He's brought me this far. He'll carry me through 2012 too.

It's time to focus on God's faithfulness, not my feelings. 
That's where the truth is.

Be sure to check the Cafe for more links to WFW

*Photo by courtesy of

Me in Terrifying Technicolor

It's vlog day--the day some of us (Me!!) have been dreading for awhile. I'm happy to say that I didn't chicken out--probably only because of all the others involved in this scheme. Talk about being stretched and shoved out of my comfort zone! Man-alivin'.

But, I survived. Now I only hope you do too! LoL.

Okay, gang. Here it is. My first vlog, video clip, whatever this thing is, ever... And it's just for you guys, explaining WHY I wanted to do these vlogs...

Now, here's a real one...

Now it's your turn!! Post your vlogs and link up on the below.
This is NOT just for those who have participated in the memes! This is for anyone and everyone who wants to post a vlog. I cannot wait to see and hear you guys!! =] (And remember, I'll pick a winner(s) and post it next week when we start a2z:Take 2.)

Also, Thursday I'll tell you about 12 in '12. An idea I think could be fun...
Hope to see you then!

a2z: Take 2

Back in May, when I announced the a 2 z meme (rhymes with cream) I never dreamed it'd be so much fun. I hoped it would pull me out of the blogging dry spell I was in, and sure enough, it did. In fact, it did far more. That meme stirred up my creative juices and I was amazed at all that flowed out. Not only that, but I met people and got to know acquaintances better and developed some fun friendships.

Since this whole Tuesday meme (rhymes with cream) business wasn't just for me, I asked the participants of the first round if they were ready to call it quits or wanted to continue, and wouldn't you know? They wanted round 2! We decided to start again in January but to keep the momentum going we did a short JollyDaze meme to carry us through the holidays. But now it's time to jump back into a2z...

a2z: Take 2
January 10 - July 3.

Here's the deal:
  • Anyone can play. Some of us will be returning a 2 z-ers, but any one can join us and we would LOVE to have you along! The more the merrier! Grab a friend and join us!!
  • Anything goes. If you're pressed for time, pressed for brain cells (a common ailment of mine), stumped, whatever... a simple list will work! Or a picture or a verse—anything to get a post up. Seriously. Just make sure it ties in with the week’s letter. It can also be as focused or even a complicated post about a word that starts with that letter. Anything goes, related to the letter.
  • One letter a week. We'll start with A and finish by the 4th of July.
  • Tuesday's the day. Posting day is Tuesday. Or Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday. ROFL. If you're like me, you might not remember on Tuesday, so any day works. I don't care, but that brings me to...
  • Let's link together! Part of the fun of a meme is linking together so we can encourage each other on. I'll put a linky up on my site each Tuesday, shortly after midnight so you can link up.
  • Gift for frequent posters! I’ll keep track and the people who join a 2 z: Take 2 for all 26 letters will be sent a small gift. Last time I was amazed by how many made it through the whole alphabet!

Wondering what a meme is and why you'd want to participate? Check out Making the Most of Memes for more information.

And now, if you're looking for other fun memes here's some:
  • Easy as Pie - hosted by Vonnie Blake on Thursdays. Quick and easy recipes!
  • Fiction Friday – hosted by Karlene 
  • Word Filled Wednesday - hosted by the Internet Cafe
There are loads more, but these are just three fun ones I'm very familiar with. =)

Memes are simply great ways to have something to post for those times you “don’t have anything” or are in a dry spell or rut or just want to have fun or gather with others.

How memes work:
  • Everyone posts on their own blog about the week's topic (for a2z you post something to do with the week's letter). Adding the button to your post will help people spot you.
  • Once your post is up, grab the url to that particular post and come here to my site.
  • Here you'll find a Linky gadget at the end of my Tuesday's a2z post. Paste your url in, add your name and click Enter.
  • Your name will be added to the list of links so people can visit your site. (Think of it as an online progressive dinner sort of thing.)
  • Visit several people linked up there. It's how you'll meet people, get to know them and encourage them.
Grab a button for your blog:

Button code for 325px wide image:
a2z: Take 2. Patty Wysong Helping bloggers blog.

Button code for 200px wide image:
a2z: Take 2. Patty Wysong Helping bloggers blog.

a2z Take 2 will start Tuesday, January 10th, 
with the letter A.

Come join us! 

And don't forget we're vlogging tomorrow and would love to meet you then. (This is for everyone, not just those participating in the memes!) Scroll down to yesterday's post for details.

Writing Craft Books for 2012

Even though I feel like I'm still in a white out as far as goals for 2012, I do know a few books I want (and need!) to read this year. Since this is a very measureable goal, here's my list...
I've read some of these, but I really, really need to read the whole book so this year I'm knocking them out. Eight books in twelve months. Very doable.

And that's all I'm going to list for goals for 2012. I still don't have a clear cut goals list and I'm not sure about a verse for the year. And that one word I wanted for 2012? Nope.

In many ways I feel like God has put a blindfold on me and wants me to thank Him for it. So that's what I'm going to do.

Happy New Year, my friends! Thanks for being with me on this journey. You've made my time much sweeter. Hugs all around...
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